The Summer Slide can take a good chunk of time to recover from. All those long and lazy summer days can mean a month or so of re-teaching come August. While it may be hard to avoid, here are a few ways to prep your kids for back to school and help them refresh what summer wiped away. Their teachers will thank you!
A few weeks out from the start of school, start working to make sure your children are getting the sleep they need so that their brains will be ready to fire on all synapses. Elementary-aged children require anywhere from 10-12 hours of sleep; middle school and high school students need at least 8-9. Set and enforce a bedtime based on when your children will be waking up to get ready for school. And, as hard as it can be, start cutting down on screen time just before bed.
Take advantage of the homework-free nights to stimulate the mind with physical activity. The value of physical activity cannot be overstated, and one of the many benefits of an increase in physical activity is that it directly correlates with an increase mental activity. Play tag in the yard. Play one-on-one. Host a dance party. Walk the dog together. You could even have a family yoga session to prepare for bed! Yoga will help kids relax for bed time and fill a need for physical activity at the same time. Two birds, one stone.
Stimulate higher brain function with games. Puzzles help students rediscover problem solving skills. Games like Outburst, Taboo and Catch Phrase help kids with vocab skills and quick thinking, although you might want to use the kids’ version. Games like Monopoly and Life can help children recall basic arithmetic and are a great springboard into conversations about economics and money management.
Creativity aids in student success on so many levels; problem solving and critical thinking require it. When you aren’t getting physical or playing games, make a point to develop creativity in your children. Turn off electronics and encourage kids to create something. And then get involved! Collaborate on a papier-mâché sculpture. Write and perform a family play together, even if the only audience is the family dog. Get together and develop your own personal game, sports or otherwise, and then play it. Children are born creative, but in order for them to maintain that quality it requires nurturing and development.
How do you help your kids prep for back to school?